Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

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The Chronically Disobedient Child

At one time or another, most kids defy the wishes of their moms and dads. This is a part of growing up and testing adult guidelines and expectations. It is one way for kids to learn about and discover their own selves, express their individuality, and achieve a sense of autonomy.

As they stretch their independent wings and engage in minor conflicts with their moms and dads, they discover the boundaries of their parents’ rules and of their own self-control. Sometimes, however, these conflicts are more than occasional disturbances and become a pattern for how moms and dads and kids interact.

Disobedience can have a variety of causes. At times, it is due to unreasonable parental expectations, or it might be related to the youngster's temperament, school problems, family stress, or conflicts between the child’s mother and father.

What can parents do?

When you have a chronically disobedient youngster, examine the possible sources of his/her inner turmoil and rebelliousness. If this has been a persistent pattern that has continued into middle childhood, closely evaluate your own family situation:
  • Are disagreements resolved through rational discussion, or do family members regularly argue or resort to violence?
  • Do they respect one another's privacy, ideas, and personal values?
  • Do you and your youngster have very different personalities and ways of getting along in the world that cause friction between you?
  • How does the family work out its conflicts?
  • How much respect do your family members show for one another?
  • How much spanking and yelling is there?
  • Is the family undergoing some especially stressful times?
  • Is your youngster having trouble succeeding at school or developing friendships?
  • What is your usual style of relating to your youngster, and what forms does discipline usually take?

If your youngster has only recently started to demonstrate disrespect and disobedience, tell her that you have noticed a difference in her behavior and that you sense she is unhappy or struggling. With her help, try to determine the specific cause of her frustration or upset. This is the first step toward helping her change unwanted behavior.

Reactions Matter—

If you react to your youngster's “back-talk” by exploding or losing your temper, she will respond with disobedience and disrespect. By contrast, she will become more obedient when you remain calm, cooperative, and consistent. She will learn to be respectful if you are respectful toward her and others in the family. If she becomes disobedient and out of control, impose a timeout until she calms down and regains self-control.

When your youngster is obedient and respectful, compliment her for that behavior. Reward the behavior you are seeking, including cooperation and resolution of disagreements. These positive efforts will always be much more successful than punishment.

When should I seek additional help?

For some disobedient kids, you may need to obtain professional mental health treatment. Here are some situations where outside counseling may be necessary:
  • If a youngster shows signs of generalized unhappiness -- perhaps talking of feeling blue, unliked, friendless, or even suicidal
  • If a youngster's disobedience and/or disrespect is accompanied by aggressiveness and destructiveness
  • If the patterns of disobedience continue in spite of your best efforts to encourage your youngster to communicate his negative feelings
  • If there is a persistent, long-standing pattern of disrespect of authority both at school and at home
  • If you or your spouse or youngster use alcohol or other drugs to feel better or cope with stress
  • If your family has developed a pattern of responding to disagreements with physical or emotional abuse

If relationships within your family show signs of difficulty and lack of cooperation, then family therapy may be indicated. By dealing with and resolving these problems at a young age, you can minimize and even prevent more serious struggles that may emerge as your kids reach adolescence. The key is early identification and treatment.

==> My Out-of-Control Teen: Parenting Children and Teens with Oppositional Defiant Disorder


Anonymous said...

I do have an issue with my 18 year old son who is a single child and has been raised without his bilogical father in his life. Has never met him and does not want to meet him at this time. The only father figure in his life was his Uncle Mike who has passed 4 years ago.

The thing i'm battling right now is he does not want to go to school. Yesterday he complained about his tonsils being swallen and refused to go to school, then went to work. I picked him up at 9:00pm from work and brought him home to find later that night while I was sleeping he left the house with friends and was not home in bed when I went to wake him up for school. It seems like I am slowly losing him. He gets angry when I bring up school. I have holes all through my house from his anger when I bring up school. I've explained to him that he needs a diploma. I've told him if you do not go to school than I will not take you to and from work and I have been consistant with this. At first, I didn't want him to lose his job but now I'm at the point where I think school needs to be his priority and losing his job would not be so bad if he had more time to concentrate on school.

How can I get him motivated about school? And now, he is hiding and starting to lie to me where he always has been truthful...
Hope this isn't all over the place, I'm at work and don't have much time to think about what I'm typing to you, hope you understand what I'm trying to say.

Anonymous said...

OMG THANK YOU JESUS!!!! I was referred to you by the theripist my 13 and 14 yr old see I have had so many problems with them there is never a dull moment in my house I have set rules and had them sign it also set a chore chart the youngest one only does it when he wants something the older one will say awww im tired ...... I have a hard time sticking to what I say and now that they r older i guess they feel oh mom will still deal with it ...... last night i could not stop crying to god for my boys pleading to him for their life to turn aroung they are both looking at a prop expulsion one asked a kid at school let me see ur hat kid said no my son threw him to the ground and kicked him in the face hard i still do not know if that little boy is ok ..... my other son got in a fight with a kid at school also he has told me to F off called me a hoe i have called the police they cannot do anything but talk to him and he is scared at the moment but than something happens whether at school or home what will i do if the both get expelled ????? I went to a temp agency today so they can put me to work i have had no luck finding a job for months now and the first question she asked was do u have any drama? i thought quickly of my boys i love them so much i would do anything for them i knw they r hurting and angry inside their father is locked up for life i do have other children as well a 7month old and a 6 yr old so it is hard for me to balance the attention it is very hard for me to take things away it hurts me just as much as it does them but i told them if i didnt care i would let you do wutever u wanted i do not want them to be taken away from me they r headed down the wrong path I have even called probation so i myself can put them on probation im just at lost for words on the things they have done dispected teachers myself just anyone who tells them what to do ....

Please help me

Hurting Mom

hurdahl said...

for Anonymous with 18 year old son that won't go to school...

Is he being bullied at school or are there other things he can't handle? (sounds like it to be honest). And if it is then the mere thought of going there would be enough for him to respond like he clearly has been. Consider asking him WHY he does not want to go to school and WHY he gets to angry by the thought. Perhaps someone specific is targeting him, perhaps there's even a teacher is being mean to him, perhaps the changes is unmanageable for him or something else about school he can't handle. If you can figure out the 'why' and what is going on... then you can also try to work with him on what to do. Perhaps the staff needs to keep a closer eye on him, perhaps he needs to switch teachers in some lessons, perhaps he even needs to switch school (despite the inconvenience of that), perhaps he needs to get a way to get out the frustration he has (boxing, martial arts or similar teachers self control... if its available and something you both can afford and he wants). If work is a good place for him then don't stop him from going there (and don't threaten to do that) - if nothing else a year of working may motivate him to finish next year (if its a possibility)... instead work with him to find better punishment that won't hinder his future (as it may potentially be a place he could work for a long time depending on what he is). Remember that he IS 18 and that you need to talk to him about why exactly him having a diploma is so important for you. Be calm and rational about it and allow him to have his say. Include things like minimum wage and long work hours and being less attractive to get various jobs (and more likely to loose the job). Consider even involving his boss about it as the person may have some way to reach him that you don't (like his prospects there+ and the difference between diploma and not. Talk to him about housing prices, food, clothing+ - even how hard it can be to find and keep a job unless he's lucky). And finally - as he is of age (... at least in my country) it is in the end his choice and you should respect that (can he finish on his own/GED whatever? as an option?). Teens of that age often feel invincible and like they know everything and the long term consequences are in no way clear as they are on the cusp of adulthood despite still being children. If he shouts and stuff force yourself to remain calm and prepare your arguments ahead of time. ... Perhaps even involve someone he trusts or similar (as you may not be the best person to get to him. I know I prefer my step dad to my mum when it comes to serious talks+ and has since he got into our lives (even if I love her a lot)). ... Wish you the best of luck. (this is my thoughts at least... hope its of some help..)

jordynoleymom said...

Our son needs mental health treatment. We were seeing a youth psychologist who refused to do behaviour testing on him until physical health issues were dealt with. We asked for a referral to a specialist ten hours away with a very long wait time to get in. Over the summer our 16 year old met a very messed up young woman and we were not pleased with their relationship. My son went from honor roll status, playing sports, working part time jobs despite his challenging relationships with his parents with his defiance, anger and moodiness.

He decided not to abide by our rules this fall and moved two hours away to be with a 15 year old girl who lives with her disabled mother. Where we live, the law states that he is 16 and we no longer have control over him. Social services will not help us, the police will not help us, the family of the girl he is with will not help us.

Our son is very unresponsive to our attempts to communicate with him. We now have an appt. booked with the doctor ten hours away but we have no son to take with us to the appt. after six months, I thought this young love would fizzle out but it only seems to be going stronger. My husband and I are on counselling to try and cope with our loss. We tried some sort of contract with his psychologist earlier in the month before he moved out which he never intended to follow. He hasn't respected his parents for years why should I expect he start now.

Does anyone reading this have any advice? I'm seriously at my wits end with worry wanting to get to the bottom of his health problems and start treating them if we can, both physically and mentally. I want to repair my relationship with my 16 year old. In Saskatchewan where I live, 16 may as well be the new age of majority because there is legally nothing I can do to take action and get my son back under my roof where he belongs.

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